Hi there! For this week’s Friday Fixings post (see this post for background information), I’ve selected chicken saltimbocca, purely because I happen to be making chicken saltimbocca tonight for friends. In Italian, saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth”. Saltimbocca alla Romana is traditionally made by topping a veal cutlet with sage and prosciutto, but chicken is commonly substituted. Some recipes call for no sauce, others call for making a simple pan sauce with marsala wine, lemon, or chicken broth. I personally like to make a quick pan sauce using lemon juice and chicken broth. As I learned in culinary school, acid, salt, and fat are important components in a well-rounded dish. In this case, the lemon adds acidity, while the prosciutto provides the perfect ratio of salt and fat. The sage ads fragrance and an additional layer of flavor, don’t skip it and don’t buy dried sage, it’s my favorite part.
I most often pair chicken saltimbocca with soft polenta, but tonight I am making Deb Perelman’s Wild Rice Gratin with Kale and Caramelized Onions, from her cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Because chicken saltimbocca incorporates only a few ingredients (chicken, sage, and prosciutto) I believe that it can go well with a number of different side dishes. For example, roasted potatoes, orzo, mashed potatoes, grits, etc. etc. The list below are a few sides dishes that I found this week that stand out to me. Enjoy!
Friday Fixing: Week 2
Entree: Chicken saltimbocca (an example recipe from Epicurious here)
- Soft Polenta (this no-stir oven-baked recipe is genius!)
- Cooked orzo pasta with a dab of butter and a generous handful of parmigiano reggiano cheese thrown in at the end
- Simple roasted potatoes
- Ratatouille (Jacques Pepin recipe)
- Rice pilaf with saffron (example recipe here)
I had a revelation lat night as I sat on the sofa eating
homemade Progresso Black Bean Soup for dinner. In my defense, I did manage to do some actual cooking prior to eating my soup, which involved making bread and baking some promising cookies (more on that later, if they in fact turn out to be good). Anyway, about that revelation…
It came about as I was thinking about various side dishes that might go well with tonight’s dinner. I was browsing the internet, as I often do for ideas (yes, even trained cooks and chefs browse the internet and cookbooks for inspiration), and determined that it can sometimes requires an exhausting amount of effort to find a simple side dish. Why, I’m not sure. But even mainstream publications like Food & Wine and Bon Appetit often confuse their readers by placing recipes like Soy-braised chicken and roasted brussels sprouts together on the same page. Both recipes sound good, but what should I make to go with the Soy-braised chicken? Surely not the brussels sprouts that are roasted with bacon and chestnuts?! When I look closely I do notice that there is a wine pairing for the chicken….So maybe if I drink enough of the wine I won’t notice that the brussels sprouts really don’t go well with the chicken?!!! Of course, this is just an example, and the intent of the magazine was not to tell you to make both of these dishes together, but it also never told you what might pair well with the chicken.
And alas, this is the point of my long, drawn-out tale. Let’s find a side dish (or “fixing”) that does pair well with our chicken. Every Friday, I’ll attempt to compile a list of side dishes that work well with a particular main course dish. And PLEASE, if you have any suggestions for side dishes for this week, or requests for future Fridays, please place them in the comments section!
Friday Fixing: Week 1
Entree: Simple Roast Chicken with Herbs (here’s an example recipe by Ina Garten, which has worked for me in the past)